Hi Everyone ,
I was intending to send out the regular West Papuan news produced by AWPA Sydney but it is a bit buried by breaking news of the trial and hospitalization of West Papuan Activist Victor Yeimo .
I hope the reading helps people understand the politics of the region a bit better
Secretary AWPA SA
1) Papuan Activist’s Treason Trial Postponed Again After He is Hospitalized
2) Ex-tapol Filep Karma shocked at prosecutor’s racist treatment of Victor Yeimo
3) 6,000 Police, Army Personnel Deployed For PON XX in Papua
4) VP, minister discuss draft regulations for Papua special autonomy law
5) ‘We’re almost dead’: Covid patient numbers in Papua surge while vaccinations stagnate
1) Papuan Activist’s Treason Trial Postponed Again After He is Hospitalized
Ronna Nirmala Jakarta 2021-08-31
The start of a Papuan independence activist’s trial on treason charges was postponed Tuesday for a third time after he fell ill and had to be hospitalized for pulmonary and gastric problems, lawyers said.
Victor Yeimo was admitted to the Jayapura General Hospital on Monday after the court and prosecutors agreed to postpone the trial pending his treatment, according to Adrianus Tomana, the public prosecutor.
“The suspension of detention was granted so that defendant Victor Yeimo can be treated in hospital,” Adrianus told BenarNews.
The activist will return to his detention cell from the hospital once he has recovered, Adrianus said.
Yeimo, the international spokesman for the West Papua National Committee (KNPB), a group seeking a referendum on independence for the Papua region, is facing charges of treason, desecration of state symbols, and weapons smuggling in connection with deadly anti-Jakarta riots that took place in 2019.
He could face two years to a maximum of life in prison, if found guilty.
The indefinite postponement marked the third time since last week that the trial’s opening was delayed. It was originally set to begin on Aug. 24 at a courthouse in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province.
Yeimo’s attorney, Gustav Kawer, criticized the prosecutor’s office, accusing it of delaying approval for his client’s medical treatment.
“Initially, the prosecutor had wanted the trial to proceed as planned and the defendant to remain in detention,” Kawer told BenarNews. “Maybe they wanted him to die in his detention cell.”
Last Thursday, the Jayapura District Court ordered Yeimo to receive medical treatment and adjourned the trial after receiving the results of his medical checks.
Yeimo had been held at a detention facility run by the crack Mobile Brigade police unit since his arrest on May 9.
Kawer said Yeimo had complained of chest pain and coughed up blood, with his chronic pulmonary conditions aggravated because of a poorly ventilated cell.
But police and the prosecutor’s office had initially denied requests for his client to be treated and transferred to another facility, Kawer alleged.
On Friday, police finally took Yeimo to a hospital for a series of health examinations, the defense lawyer said.
The doctor diagnosed Yeimo with acid reflux disease, chronic bronchitis and possible pulmonary tuberculosis, according to the results of the examinations, a copy of which was seen by BenarNews.
In 2019, more than 40 people were killed in Papua and neighboring West Papua province during anti-government demonstrations that turned violent. These were sparked by the perceived harsh and racist treatment of Papuan students by government security personnel in Java that August.
Police said Yeimo instigated the demonstrations, during which protestors demanded independence from Jakarta’s rule for the far-eastern Papua region, which makes up the western side of New Guinea Island.
Indonesian government forces have been accused of engaging in racist actions against indigenous people in mainly Melanesian Papua, where violence linked to a separatist insurgency has simmered for decades, and grown in recent months.
Last year, at least 13 Papuan activists and students were convicted for raising Morning Star flags – the symbol of the Papuan independence movement – during pro-referendum rallies in 2019 as part of nationwide protests against racism towards Papuans.
They were sentenced to between nine and 11 months in prison on treason charges.
‘Inhumane and cruel’
Wirya Adiwena, deputy director of the rights group Amnesty International in Indonesia, criticized the delay in treating Yeimo.
“We are grateful that he was finally hospitalized, but we also regret why the process was so slow. We’ve known how his health was and that he needed urgent treatment,” Wirya told BenarNews.
“Any attempt to prevent him from being treated constitutes inhumane and cruel treatment,” he said.
According to Wirya, Yeimo should not have been detained and prosecuted in the first place.
“His continued detention is in violation of international human rights laws and Indonesia’s constitution. It is critical that he be released as soon as possible,” Wirya said.
Papua police spokesman Ahmad Musthofa Kamal denied that Yeimo was denied treatment.
“He has been given regular health checks, including the last one, the results of which were submitted to the court,” Kamal told BenarNews.
On Monday, hundreds of people rallied outside the Papuan prosecutor’s office to demand that Yeimo be immediately released, according to Jubi, a Papuan news website.
The crowd was disbanded by the police in the afternoon.
Yeimo’s current legal trouble is not his first brush with the law.
In 2009, he was arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for leading a rally demanding a referendum on self-determination for Papua.
In other news from the region, a Papuan man who was wounded on Aug. 16 when police fired shots at protestors in Papua’s Yahukimo regency who were demanding Yeimo’s release has died of his injuries, West Papua National Committee chairman Agus Kossay said.
Ferianus Asso, 29, died on Aug. 22 after being treated in a hospital for a bullet wound to his stomach, Kossay said.
“We are working with his family and lawyers to demand the chief of the police be held accountable and brought to justice,” Kossay told BenarNews.
Meanwhile, on the day that Asso died, rebels gunned two workers in the same regency who were involved in the construction of the Trans-Papua Highway.
The West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), the military wing of the Free Papua Movement, claimed responsibility for the killings. They had killed other construction workers in the past, claiming they were government agents.
In 1963, Indonesian forces invaded Papua and annexed the region. Papua was formally incorporated into Indonesia after a U.N.-sponsored ballot called the Act of Free Choice in 1969.
Locals and activists said the vote was a sham because only about 1,000 people took part. However, the United Nations accepted the result, which essentially endorsed Jakarta’s rule.
The region is rich in natural resources and minerals, including copper and gold, but remains among Indonesia’s poorest and underdeveloped ones.
2) Ex-tapol Filep Karma shocked at prosecutor’s racist treatment of Victor Yeimo
Suara Papua – August 29, 2021
Former political prisoner and pro-independence activist Filep Karma – Undated (SP)
Editors note . Some supporters might be familiar with Filep Karma .
He was gaoled on charges of treason , promoting independence and other such crimes for 15 years . After 11 years he was released after an intense campaign was waged over the years .
He refused to be released until other political prisoners were released causing great embarrassment to the Government of Joko Widodo .
He has not stopped campaigning or been silenced .
Jayapura – Former Papuan political prisoner (tapol) Filep Karma has also joined with activists and Victor Yeimo’s family when along with Yeimo’s lawyer they went to the private residence of the Papua chief public prosecutor in the Doc 5 area of Jayapura city on the evening of Saturday August 28.
Karma revealed that he felt shocked at the attitude of the public prosecutor who is still showing his racism towards Yeimo despite the panel of judges at a hearing at the Jayapura District Court on Thursday August 26 ordering the prosecutor to facilitate the defendant in obtaining his right to healthcare, namely a follow up examination and inpatient care at a hospital.
Just like before and despite being urged by several parties over the last two days following the court’s ruling, the chief public prosecutor has not demonstrated good faith.
Moreover when Yeimo was being examined by a medical team at the Jayapura pubic hospital on the evening of Friday August 27, the prosecutor accompanied by security personnel put pressure on Yeimo not to be treated overnight and was then returned to the Papua regional police Mobile Brigade command headquarters detention centre where he has been detained since his arrest.
Yeimo’s lawyer, who is part of the Papua Law Enforcement and Human Rights Coalition (KPHHP), has already met all of the administrative requirements for Yeimo’s hospital treatment including providing guarantors from the Papuan Regional House of Representatives (DPRP) – legislators John NR Gobai and Laurenzus Kadepa, as well as an advocate.
“Legal affairs in Indonesia are indeed like this, excessively long-winded. Indonesia does not regard life as important, but procedures are more important than people’s lives”, he said.
Karma also feels that the prosecutor’s actions are strange, especially because ipso facto they are an indigenous Papuan who has not heeded the order by the panel of judges during the hearing on Thursday.
“Because the prosecutor is a Papuan, he’s afraid of being labeled as included towards Papuan independence. So, he will try to show that he is more nationalist than the Javanese. Yet in the eyes of the Javanese he’s just a monkey. I lived in Java for a long time, so I have felt this”, said Karma.
Yeimo must be treated first because, according to Karma, a suspect and a defendant is guaranteed by law to receive treatment if they are ill.
“What we want this evening is for brother Victor Yeimo to be allowed to be treated in hospital. But this has not happened because of other considerations and they say they are following legal procedures”, he said.
Because of efforts to get Yeimo treated in hospital have not borne fruit, Karma is calling on all Papuans to surrender his fate to God.
“We will cool our passionate hearts, let us rise in hymen and prayer. Myself and all of us exist not just because of power, but rather because Jesus who lived before us, today and forever. I invite us all to rise in prayer for Victor tonight, assured and trusting in Jesus to save him”, said Karma.
KPHHP litigation coordinator and Yeimo’s lawyer Emanuel Gobay believes that the Papua chief public prosecutor’s response to Gobai and Kadepa when he met with them at his private residence was different from the court’s ruling that his client receive inpatient treatment because his state of health has deteriorated while being detained at the Mobile Brigade detention centre.
“We have heard the chief public prosecutor’s response. If seen from the court’s ruling, there is difference in how it’s seen. What the chief public prosecutor has conveyed proves that he does not respect the judges’ ruling at the Abepura Class IIA District Court. The public prosecutor has gone against the court’s order”, asserted Gobay.
Speaking in front of Yeimo’s family and activists gathered in front of the prosecutor’s private residence at 8 am, Gobay said that Yeimo’s lawyers would accompany him at the next hearing on Tuesday. His guarantors, Gobai and Kadepa will also attend the hearing.
[Translated by James Balowski. Slightly abridged due to repetition. The original title of the article was “Filep Karma Heran Jaksa Masih Hambat Victor Yeimo Dirawat”.]
3) 6,000 Police, Army Personnel Deployed For PON XX in Papua
Editor: Petir Garda Bhwana
31 August 2021 12:49 WIB
TEMPO.CO, Papua – As many as 6,000 National Police and Army (Polri-TNI) personnel were deployed to help secure the implementation of the XX National Sports Week or PON in Papua which will be held in October 2021.
The Papuan Regional Police Chief, Inspector General Mathius D. Fakhiri, said that later the Nusantara Mobil Brigade personnel would also assist.
“Thousands of personnel that we have prepared will also be divided into four regencies or cities to host the PON, namely Jayapura City, Jayapura Regency, Timika and Merauke,” said Mathius in a written statement on Tuesday, August 31, 2021.
Previously, the Director of Security for Vital Objects of the Papua Regional Police, Sr. Comr. Nicolas Ari Lilipaly, stated that there would be 6,000 national police and army personnel who would secure PON XX. The thousands of personnel will secure approximately 20,000 incoming people, consisting of more than 6,000 athletes, around 3,000 officials and 9,000 more committee members.
Nicolas said that the police will, among other things, secure the arrival and return of athletes and their entourage, venues, security for the opening or closing ceremonies, as well as securing the fire and traffic lanes. “As well as securing lodging places used by athletes,” he said on August 12, 2021.
Read: Papua Needs Extraordinary COVID Effort Ahead of PON: Police Chief
ANDITA RAHMA | MAUDEY K. SETYAKUSUMA (Internship)
4) VP, minister discuss draft regulations for Papua special autonomy law
30th August 2021
Jakarta (ANTARA) – Vice President Ma’ruf Amin on Monday summoned Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian to discuss draft government regulations for Papua’s special autonomy law.
At the meeting, Karnavian reported on developments in the formulation of two government regulations pertaining to institution and financial governance for Papua’s special autonomy, vice presidential spokesperson Masduki Baidlowi said in a written statement released on Monday.
According to Karnavian, the two draft government regulations must be endorsed no later than October 19, 2021 or three months of the enactment of Law No. 2/2021 concerning the second round of amendment to Law No. 21/2001 concerning special autonomy for Papua province, Baidlowi said.
“The newly-enacted special autonomy law needs government regulations to implement it. The deadline for the endorsement of the government regulations is three months after the enactment of the law,” he added.
Related news: Police offer trauma-healing support to 11 survivors of terror attack
The home affairs minister has submitted the draft government regulations, which involve 33 ministries and non-ministerial government institutions, to the vice president, he informed. The draft government regulations also cover the planned proliferation of Papua province, he added.
“The home affairs minister has submitted all the draft government regulations to the vice president, including the planned proliferation of Papua province which constitutes the aspiration of Papua people,” Baidlowi said.
editors note . This is more likely to be a continuation of the push to create another Province in West Papua
Related news: Soldiers distribute “sembako” to Yuwainda villagers in Papua’s Keerom
At Monday’s meeting, the vice president highlighted the effort to drastically reduce the poverty rate in Papua province, which has become the target of the government’s programs, he added.
Papua is among the seven Indonesian provinces targeted under the government’s program to tackle extreme poverty in 2021, he said.
“The vice president asked the home affairs minister to map extreme poverty in Papua and West Papua soon through coordination with the Papua and West Papua provincial governments,” he added.
Related news: 2020 PON likely to be held without spectators
Related news: Vaccination coverage among RA, madrasah teachers at 52%: ministry
Reporter: Fransiska N, Suharto
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
5) ‘We’re almost dead’: Covid patient numbers in Papua surge while vaccinations stagnate
Asrida Elisabeth, Project Multatuli
30 August 2021
News Desk August 31, 2021 2:43 pm
In Wamena, the city at the economic center of Papua’s central highlands, a mother of two stays home to avoid contracting Covid-19. The woman who asked to be identified as AB reminds everyone–family or visitor alike–to wash their hands before entering. The number of coronavirus cases in Wamena has been increasing. Local officials suspended commercial flights to the region on July 12, in line with tighter restrictions imposed by the central government, far away in Jakarta, following a surge in deaths.
Unlike as in the first wave of Covid-19 infections in 2020, the second wave has affected people close to AB. Two of her neighbors were buried a few days earlier. Her own mother was hospitalized for a week. “When the first wave came […] they said Papuans couldn’t get it, but the second wave actually killed a lot of Papuans,” AB said in a phone interview.
Unfortunately, according to AB, people have lowered their guard against the pandemic, as seen in her observations of daily life in Wamena.
No one in her family has been vaccinated. Information on social media about the vaccine’s side effects has made her doubtful. Moreover, AB and her husband suffer from HIV and are following a treatment program.
“Personally, I don’t really mind [a vaccination]. What makes us hesitant is all the information on whether the vaccine is good or not, its side effects and everything. And people like me–with a comorbidity? This is the question. It’s better not to be vaccinated because of the fear of fatal side effects.”
AB said that her only source of information about Covid-19 and vaccines is social media. Wamena’s slow internet makes finding accurate information a lengthy and expensive process. A local police car is the only source of direct information, when it announces mass vaccinations in the area.
“The average person here is terrified by the [possible] effects of the vaccine,” she said. “I’ve not seen any widespread explanation about the various vaccines that have reached this small community. I hardly know anything myself. Which groups need vaccines? We must know beforehand, right? So that we can decide what to do.”
AB said most of her unvaccinated friends were also worried about side effects. “This is closely related to them being unsure of their own medical history–a common story in Papua. When they fall sick, indigenous Papuans rarely go to puskesmas [community health care centers] but often treat themselves at home.” Access difficulties and Papua’s difficult geography have led to the province’s poor performance on the Indonesian government’s public health development index, according to the Health Ministry.
In Jayapura, the provincial capital, health care is far better than in other parts of Papua. Yet even here, residents have been increasingly burdened by the pandemic.
The head of the Papua Provincial Health Agency, Dr. Robby Kayame, said upwards of 20 people have died every day in Jayapura alone in July.
“Compared to March 2020, there has been a 300 to 400 percent increase in Covid-19 patients in March 2021,” Dr. Kayame said. “Every day, there are 150 to 400 cases.” This figure, he added, was based on people asking to be tested, not from testing requests from the officials tracing the close contacts of Covid-19 patients.
“If we look at the Papuan community, the number [of Covid-19 cases] might be double. It could be up to 60,000 or even more,” Dr. Kayame said.
Dr. Kayame sounded desperate when he said that funds, facilities and health workers in Papua were severely limited. In addition, Papuans are vulnerable to malaria, HIV, hepatitis and several other diseases that worsen their health. Poor nutrition and dietary habits also pose problems.
Since mid-July, almost every hospital in Jayapura has been overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients, such as Yoram Dwa, who fell ill on July 9. On July 20, his family took Yoram, who also had lung problems, to Yowari Hospital in Sentani, Jayapura, where he was diagnosed with Covid-19. Hospital staff wanted to transfer him to an isolation room but his family refused.
“We checked the isolation room, but the room was cluttered,” said Ambokari, Yoram’s wife. “How could the patients breathe fresh air?” When the family brought him home, his condition worsened. Yoram could barely breathe. Speaking tightened his chest. His oxygen saturation dropped to 50 percent, well below 94 percent, the level requiring immediate medical treatment, according to the World Health Organization.
Again, Yoram’s family went to the hospital. However, by this time, Jayapura was in the middle of an outbreak. Beds were full, oxygen was scarce, and many local health care workers had been exposed to the virus. On July 25, the family went to Dian Harapan Hospital in Wamena. When there were no available beds, a nurse suggested going to Dok II Regional General Hospital–a larger, referral facility that also turned out to be overflowing with patients, as was the next facility on the family’s list, Abepura Hospital.
When Yoram’s breathing worsened as the car jolted along the rocky road, the family decided to take him back home to Maribu, in West Sentani. They had traveled more than 117 kilometers.
His condition now critical, Yoram was cared for at home, surviving only with an oxygen can purchased at a pharmacy. Someone from the local health center would occasionally bring medicine and offer advice on how to improve his breathing. Family and friends were trying constantly to get an oxygen cylinder with a regulator.
“Now we are busy looking for a way to get oxygen,” Ambokari said. “If we cannot get it in the next few days, then we’ll just use whatever we have, because of the crisis.”
I observed the hospitals where Yoram’s family had sought help. At Dok II, patients filled the veranda of the emergency unit, whose 15 beds were occupied with patients breathing with the help of supplemental oxygen or family members. At Abepura Hospital, patients continued to arrive, standing in line to be treated in the ER, while others waited for the bodies of their deceased relatives to be released by staff. One patient died before treatment.
The Trauma of Indigenous Papuans
The hospital crisis has coincided with low vaccination rates in Papua, especially among indigenous Papuans.
Efforts to overcome the problem have included a webinar, titled “Questions about the Covid-19 Vaccine”, held by the Jubi news outlet and Kingmi Church–two of the most trusted institutions in Papua–on July 24.
At the seminar, Dr. Kayame, the Papua Health Agency chief, said only 190,723 people in Papua province (13.06% of the population) had received one dose of the vaccine as of July 24, while second doses had been administered to 12,911 people (5.58%).
Jayapura, Mimika and Merauke are all areas of Papua with higher vaccination rates than the mountainous areas of Lapago and Meepago. In Saireri area, the vaccination rate in Biak regency is much higher than in Supiori, Yapen and Waropen. Vaccination rates in Boven, Mappi and Asmat are in the higher range.
“The percentage of Papuans who have been vaccinated is very small compared to non-Papuans in some places,” Dr. Kayame said.
Many believe since Papuans continue to gather with little regard to the virus, that they cannot be infected with Covid-19, according to Dr. Kayame. This misbelief has been exacerbated by hoaxes on social media, including WhatsApp, that have spread fear-mongering narratives about the vaccine’s potential side effects.
Distrust of the Indonesian government is another factor for Papuans who refuse to be vaccinated, according to Rev. Benny Giay, leader of the Kingmi Church in Tanah Papua.
The experience of the Papuan people with the Indonesian state has been one of murder, repression, imprisonment, fear and trauma. For the past two years, Covid-19 has been used an excuse for Indonesian security forces to silence Papuan voices protesting against racism and Jakarta’s interests, Rev. Giay said.
“Those suspected [of abuses] by the Papuan people should not be involved in overseeing vaccinations,” said Rev. Giay. The involvement of the Indonesian Army and police in vaccinations has made Papuans hesitant to get the injection, he added.
Audryne Karma, the daughter of the political figure Filep Karma, said Papuan distrust of the government went beyond vaccines, stating that local indigenous Papuans were already afraid that pre-pandemic public health programs had a hidden agenda.
“We have ingrained trauma,” she said.
Audryne, who as a dentist worked for three years in Dekai, Yahukimo, said that the local child mortality rate in the region was high, since the community objected to basic immunization programs. A widespread polio outbreak in 2019 prompted the government to launch another vaccination campaign that succeeded only after health workers collaborated with the local church.
Vaccine hesitancy also stemmed from a lack of official information, Audryne said. “I think it’s everyone’s right to know the side effects of drugs and whether they are harmful or not. But I don’t see that. I only see the information from the WHO that provides detailed facts on the vaccine’s side effects.”
Eben Kirskey, a US anthropologist who has researched Papua, has urged Papuans not to fear vaccination. He shares similar suspicions related to the movement “Papuan Lives Matter”, which echoed “Black Lives Matter” with shared experiences of racism. Suspicion among black Americans, he said, was quickly eroded when people became aware of Kizzmekia Corbett, an African-American who was the key scientist behind the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.
“If you are young, under 30s or 40s, if you don’t feel sick, I think it’s better to use Sinovac. However, if you are over 70, diabetic, a bit overweight, and have a heart disease, which means you have a high risk of dying from COVID-19, Astra Zeneca may be more suitable,” said Kirksey.
“The logic is, if you have a medical condition, you must get vaccinated sooner because you’re more vulnerable when exposed to Covid-19.”
Melissa Hascatri, a physician who leads the Yoka puskesmas in Heram, Jayapura, said that most of the people seeking vaccinations at her center came from outside the village. “We still have to continue to approach locals. They want to access information [on vaccines and Covid-19]. In the beginning [of the pandemic], we were still spreading information, but people also said they had heard of some hoaxes,” Melissa said.
The number of Covid-19 cases in her area has increased. In July 2021, 14 to 16 patients were positive for the coronavirus. Half the clinic staff tested positive, including Melissa. One of her staff was transferred to Dok II for treatment.
Melissa said more information campaigns with community leaders are needed to convince Papuans to be vaccinated. “We have already sent a letter to the church. We will definitely communicate with the church again.”
‘My Mama Drinks Eucalyptus Oil’
The last two months have been tough for Rev. Samuel Hesegem, a pastor at the Indonesian Christian Church (GKI) in Papua. He lost his parents, Alex Hesegem, 65, and Amelia Infandi, 53, to Covid-19. They died at Dok II Regional General Hospital.
His father, who was Papua’s deputy governor from 2006 to 2011, died on June 20, following treatment in isolation for three days. Three weeks later, his wife died after a night in intensive care.
Samuel was the first in the family to test positive, after a few days of fevers and shortness of breath. He said that he felt strong enough to self-isolate in a room on the second floor of their house. But his parents continued to interact with him.
“I reminded them ‘I’m positive. You should stop at the door.’ But […] you know how parents are.”
“Mother always wore a mask. Father too. But sometimes at night when I was asleep, he came in alone, with no mask, he sang, he prayed for me, even though I always reminded him.”
The family doctor suggested that Samuel’s parents and the relatives who had interacted with him take a swab test. His father tested positive and his mother tested negative. Samuel said his father was distressed: X-rays revealed spots on his lungs. The physician recommended antiviral medicine and other drugs for his stomach and lungs. Alex previously suffered from complications, including stomach pains.
“I was also given lung medication and antivirals,” said Samuel. ”I think it was this part–the reaction from the medication–that led to Papa feeling immediately weaker and he had to be rushed to the hospital.”
Samuel continued to have breathing difficulties and was treated at the same hospital.
“It was when I was isolated that Papa passed away. I only heard the news. It was hard, as I was dealing with the coronavirus and I lost Papa. I wished I could see him one last time, but the doctor wouldn’t allow me with my chest feeling so tight.”
While Samuel was in the hospital, his mother stayed close by. He improved and Samuel and his mother were tested on July 2, when Samuel was released. His mother, however, tested positive. They received the results on July 4.
“Mama heard drinking eucalyptus oil was good for [Covid-19] patients–three to four times a day. Eucalyptus oil is diluted in warm water. Mama was probably so desperate that she took eucalyptus oil directly from a spoon and downed it with warm water. But she had stomach problems and had immediate reactions when she took it,” he said.
Samuel decided his mother should isolate at home. However her condition remained poor and on July 11 she was rushed to Dok II General Hospital–again, at the height of the recent spike in Jayapura. Amelia waited in a wheelchair for hours before she was given a bed.
“Mama was panting and sweating for almost half an hour. They were late to change the oxygen tank. Even when they changed the tank I saw her oxygen saturation had decreased to around 70, Samuel said. “In the ER, we could only say, ‘Mama you must be strong. We only have Mama, you must be strong.’”
The doctor took Samuel’s mom to intensive care. She died on July 13.
Politics Complicate the Pandemic
In the last two months, politics in Papua have been driven by the Jakarta elite. It has been hard for the provincial administration to focus on the pandemic.
At the end of June, Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian, a former National Police chief and former chief of the Papua Provincial Police, appointed a local bureaucrat–without notice–to fill in for Papua Governor Lukas Enembe, who was sick. This angered Enembe, who threatened to report Tito to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. Papua hasn’t had a deputy governor since Klement Tinal died in May.
Divisive politics continued in July, when the House of Representatives in Jakarta passed a revised Papua Special Autonomy Law over local protests, with provisions authorizing the province’s expansion without consulting the local legislature. Police arrested dozens of demonstrators in Jayapura, charging members of the crowd with violating health protocols.
Tito also vacated Enembe’s plan, devised after experts said the Delta variant entered Papua, to close sea and air access to the province from Aug.1 to Aug. 31. Jakarta did not want a lockdown. President Jokowi previously approved extended lockdowns only for Java and Bali. Tug-of-wars between the central and local governments have been common since the pandemic took hold in Indonesia in 2020.
Unlike other Indonesians, Papuans are used to the sight of security forces into areas regarded as hotbeds of armed resistance. Jokowi’s government has labeled political groups demanding a referendum on Papua’s future as terrorists. Recalling the example of East Timor, which gained its independence after an Indonesian invasion through a referendum, activists have called for a similar vote in Papua.
Jokowi’s security approach, continuing from earlier regimes, has aggravated problems in Papua. Favouring an economy-first approach to the pandemic, Jokowi has not implemented the full provisions of the Health Quarantine Law, which was intended for emergencies such as pandemics. It is a move that would require the government to meet all the basic needs of the people during a crisis like Covid-19.
Despite the pandemic, the central and provincial governments are planning to hold the 20th National Sports Week (PON XX) in Papua in early October.
“Everyone should be responsible. All these Papuans are dying. The virus has spread everywhere throughout Papua, up to the remote hinterlands,” Dr. Kayame said.
Rev. Giay urged the establishment of a special team comprising representatives of churches, civil society organizations and the media to monitor the vaccination program in the province.
“We need a new step–a new concept–to enable a program that we can promote. A team that we can trust, so that we can break down the wall of distrust that is deeply ingrained in Papuan society. If this team is not accepted, it will amount to suicide. Papuans will die […] and become extinct.”
Editor: Fahri Salam, Ati Nurbaiti, Christian Razukas
This article is part of the #KamiSesakNapas and #DiabaikanNegara reporting series supported by Yayasan Kurawal.
This article is originally published in Indonesian as part of the report series to portray inequality in Covid-19 handling. The series is supported by Kurawal Foundation. You can help Indonesia deal with oxygen shortage through #OxygenForIndonesia.
Translated from Indonesian by Maria Clara Yubilea Sidharta – AIYAtranslation team.
This article first appeared on Project Multatuli and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.
Below is the West Papuan news summary put out by AWPA Sydney .
Just after this was sent out the judge hearing the court case against WP activist Victor Yeimo made a ruling as per below
Court orders hospital treatment for Victor Yeimo, prosecutor objects to inpatient care
Suara Papua – August 27, 2021
Jayapura — At the second court hearing which was to hear the reading out of the charges against West Papua National Committee (KNPB) international spokesperson activist Victor Yeimo on Thursday August 26, the panel of judges ordered the prosecution to prioritise the defendant’s health.
The panel of judges ordered the prosecution to take Yeimo to a hospital for intensive treatment because his health has further deteriorated.
The first and second court hearings this week were postponed because of Yeimo’s worrying state of health and because he was unable to attend the hearing.
On Friday August 27 Yeimo was taken to the Jayapura public hospital in Dok II for an examination and treatment.
John NR Gobay and Laurenzus Kadepan — two members of the Papua Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) — have declared that they are ready to stand as guarantors for Yeimo while being treated. Papua Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) Director Emanuel Gobay has also declared that he is ready to become a guarantor.
This was conveyed to the panel of judges at the Jayapura District Court on Thursday who subsequently granted the request.
When contacted by Suara Papua on Friday, Gustaf Kawer, one of the members of Yeimo’s team of lawyers, revealed that after Yeimo was taken to the Jayapura hospital there was pressure from the prosecutor who said that Yeimo was not allowed to receive inpatient care.
“It is correct that Victor was taken to hospital earlier. But on the matter of inpatient care this is still being debated with the prosecutor. Because the prosecutor wants Victor Yeimo not to be treated at the Doc II hospital”, he told Suara Papua.
According to Kawer, there was a debate between Yeimo’s lawyers and the prosecutor at the hospital. Yeimo and his lawyers wanted him to be treated at the hospital while the prosecutor did not.
Kawer said that the administrative requirements can be completed and will be handed over on Monday next week.
“What we are asking and urging is that Victor Yeimo’s health [be prioritised]. His state of health is not good. He must be treated in a hospital. We already have the guarantors. The administrative requirements can be handed over on Monday. What we want is for Victor to be treated. Victor’s health is more important”, he said.
In a video received by Suara Papua on Friday evening, it shows Yeimo at the Dok II Jayapura hospital emergency unit. In several photographs received it also shows Yeimo being examined by a team of medics at the hospital.
Meanwhile in another video received by Suara Papua it shows Yeimo debating with the authorities and the prosecutor who are insisting that Yeimo not be treated at the hospital.
[Translated by James Balowski. Abridged slightly due to repletion. The original title of the article was “Victor Yeimo Dipaksa untuk Tidak Dirawat di Rumah Sakit”.]
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of joe collins
Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2021 12:21 PM
Subject: AWPA Update No 5/ 2021
AWPA Update No 5/ 2021
The trial of West Papuan political prisoner Victor Yeimo started in Jayapura this week, now adjourned to 31 August. Victor was arrested on the 9 May 2021 and faces a number of charges including treason because of his peaceful role in the anti-racism protests on the 19 August in 2019. He is accused of violating Articles 106 and 110 of the Criminal Code on treason and conspiracy to commit treason. He is being held at the Mako Brimob Prison in Jayapura.
There is also concern for Victor’s mental health. The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) Papua’s head, Frits Ramandey, said his group had visited the former KNPB chairman three times and was concerned for Yeimo’s psychological condition as he is being kept in isolation at the Mobile Brigade Command Headquarters.
Yeimo’s lawyer, Gustav Kawer, has reported that repeated requests from the legal team for his client to undergo a comprehensive health check-up were denied, although he had complained of chest pain and coughed up blood.Yeimo is being detained at a facility run by the Mobile Brigade police unit and his lawyer said that Victor is lodged in a cell with minimal lighting and poor air circulation.
AWPA letter to Australia Foreign Minister concerning Victor. https://awpasydneynews.blogspot.com/2021/08/awpa-letter-re-victor-yeimo.html
Amnesty International has also called for the release of Victor and people can sign an Amnesty petition at
Update click at link below for the update
This is a new appeal being promoted through chuffed.org. It is being promoted by Ronny Kareni and Veronica Koman .
Ronny is a West Papuan activist living in Australia and Veronica ,who before her move to Australia, was a Human Rights lawyer in Jayapura .
She has been advising Victor Yeimo by mobil phone calls as part of his legal team
Healthcare & Legal Fees For West Papuan Activist Victor Yeimo
By Papuan People’s Petition – Australia
Urgent appeal to support West Papua political prisoner, Victor Yeimo.
We are concerned community based in Australia and New Zealand, standing in solidarity with West Papua. We call for our friends to support Victor Yeimo, international spokesperson for West Papua National Committee and Papuan People’s Petition.
Twice in early August, Victor Yeimo pleaded for help from the district court judges. He said he was very sick, that he had lost at least 10 kilograms, but had been denied adequate medical treatment, and his isolation in prison, amounts to torture.
“Help! Help me! I need to be treated now because I am very sick, especially at night.” – Victor Yeimo pleading to the judges during his political trial on 26th August, 2021.
Many in West Papua and beyond admire his leadership, courage and charisma in non-violence and self-determination struggle of West Papua.
The Government of Indonesia’s covert Nemangkawi Task Force arrested Mr Yeimo in Papua, Jayapura, on Sunday, 09 May, 2021, without a warrant.
After falsely accusing him of committing treason and inciting violence during the 2019 West Papua Uprising, imprisoning him for speaking out against racism, putting him in solitary confinement for 3 months, limiting access to lawyers and family, they are now denying him proper medical treatment of his deteriorating health condition.
Don’t let another freedom fighter die in a cell at the hands of the Indonesian colonial system.
We are extremely concerned about Victor Yeimo’s wellbeing. We aim to raise $5000 to cover towards medical, food, and legal costs, as well as his families’ and lawyers logistical needs and constraints during this long legal process.
All over West Papua and the world people are calling for his release, join the call!
Sam Klintworth, National Director of Amnesty International Australia, said in support of Victor:
“Peacefully protesting against racial discrimination should never be punished. Victor’s health is deteriorating as he languishes in detention, and he is forced to take on a legal battle to defend his right to freedom. Amnesty will continue to defend Victor’s rights, and I encourage everyone to do what they can to help free Victor.”
Mary Lawlo UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders (Twitter, 10 Aug):
“I am hearing disturbing reports that Human Rights Defender from #WestPapua, Victor Yeimo, is suffering from deteriorating health in prison. I’m concerned because his pre-existing health conditions put him at grave risk of #COVID19.”
West Papuan Pastor Dora Balubun:
“Victor Yeimo’s condition is critical, and the prosecutor’s office has not allowed him to be treated at the hospital. For the sake of humanity, please save him immediately.”
Zuzan Griapon, Papuan People’s Petition secretariat office:
“Victor Yeimo symbolises the Papuan people in maintaining our collective resilience and positive energy. Please show our solidarity, help Victor Yeimo, help West Papua!“
We can’t let Victor pay the price for his self-determination advocacy in West Papua. Your donation will be used to cover him speaking out against racism. Any excess funds will go towards helping other political prisoners.
Sign this petition: https://action.amnesty.org.au/act-now/indonesia-release-peaceful-anti-racism-protester-victor-yeimo
Pacific Education and Advocacy Festival
Thank you for attending the first webinar of the Pacific Education and Advocacy Festival! It was filled with enlightening and powerful presentations from the speakers.
For those who missed it, here are the live stream links for review:
- English: https://www.facebook.com/PacificEAF/videos/438456304097012/
- Bahasa: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=385322276506425&ref=watch_permalink
You can also check some highlights on our twitter: merdeka_wp
See you again at the next event!
On Mon, Aug 30, 2021 at 4:30 PM Merdeka Secretariat <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
WEBINAR ON THE PACIFIC LAND, PEOPLES, AND STRUGGLES
AUGUST 31, 6:00PM Fiji
Tomorrow, we are holding the introductory webinar to the Pacific Education and Advocacy Festival. We are inviting all to join this educational meeting and discussion on various issues in the Pacific Region, including the long-standing campaign for self-determination of the region and many of its island nations.
We have an exciting line-up of speakers which you can see here!
Bahasa interpretation shall be available and the event shall also be broadcasted on the Facebook Page of the Festival.
See you there!
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